Page images

few words, that we heartily join in the general approbation of the ingenious writer's first essay in this species of compofition: in which; we doubt not, if he continues to exercise his very promising talents, but that he will, in time, excel all his co-temporaries, as he is aiready, to say the least in his favour, equal to the best of them.

M E Ø I Č A L. Art. 25. The Usefulness of a Knowledge of Plants: illustrated it

various instances relating to medicine, husbandry, arts, and commerce. With the easy means of information. By J. Hill, M. D. 8vo. 6 d. Baldwin. From a general ignorance in botany, which lays the public open to imposition from the dealers in medicinal herbs; the indefatigable doctor infers the utility of having a botanical garden to contain Tamples of such herbs, with their usual subtitutions, to be always open, free of expence to any who may repair to it, for the improvement of their botanical knowledge. To this garden a guide or interpreter Thould be appointed; and the doctor makes a tender of his service for the execution of this design, in the concluding paragraph,-viz.

• A little spot would answer all these purposes; and fach a garden might be supported at a small expence. He wishes he had power to give the ground; who would not think it much to give his beft endeavours for this public fervice.'

Art. 26. Answer to the Notes on the Pofcript to Observations ana

tomical and physiological. . By Alexander Monro, jun. M. D. and Professor of Medicine and Anatomy in the University of Edinburgh. 8vo. 6d. Wilson and Durham.

In a former article we took notice of the several pretenfions of Messrs. Hunter, Monro, and Akenside, to the merit of discovering the lymphatics; to be a system of absorbing vessels. Dr. Akenside having thought himself aggrieved by some hints contained in the poft. fcript to Dr. Monro's pamphlet; published notes or animadversions upon them. To these laft, this thort pamphlet is a reply.

Dr. Monro here disclaims the charge of having intended to crop any hints to the disadvantage of Dr. Akenfide's ingenuity or candour; and declares, that what the Doctor seems to interpret in that fenfe, is owing to a misapprehension of his meaning. But in regard to moft of the other points in debate, Dr. Monro enforces his former remarks, and endeavours to prove, that Dr. Akenside has fallen into several physiological inconsiitencies in his arguments concerning the nature and use of the lymphatics.

In this however, as in many other contraverlies of the learned, it may, with great propriety, be affirmed, Rixatur de lanâ fæpe cuprina.


[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

The Practical Husbandman: being a collection of miscellaneous pa

pers on Husbandry, C. By Robert Maxwell, Esq; of Arkland. 8vo. 5 s. Edinburgh printed, and fold by Millar in London.

IN the Preface to this book, the Author tells us, it is partly

made up of papers chofen out of The select Transactions of I the Society of Improvers in the Knowlege of Agriculture in Scotland; but that the greatest part of it conlists of Memorials of Husbandry, wrote by him for persons of distinction in Great Britain, since the publication of the above-mentioned Tranractions.-Thus made up, it treats of all soils in Scotland, of sundry in England; and so many, and so various plans are formed in it, that every farmer (he fay's) may cherein find directions for his husbandry: directions, as he afferts, agreeable to just principles, and the best practice hitherto followed.

As to the manner of conducting the work, its Author's own account is as follows.— I have corrected vulgar errors, and formed a rational system of Husbandry. I have treated it as a science, making nature ny guide. I have shewn, that Husbandry, the foundation and support of manufactures and trade, may be, on an equal stock, more profitable than either of them; and I have all along given refons for what I have taid, that by the strength of them my work may be judged.'-

The foregoing seems to be a pretty just account of Mr. Maxwell's attempt; making all proper allowances, however, for the APPENDIX, Vol. XX.



almost unavoidable partiality of an Author, to the fruit of his own brain. -What follows, we fear, will be thought to favour a little too much of the projector; and though it promises to make us rich and happy, yet that is no more than the generality of Writers upon Husbandry have often promised before, though they have never made their promises good.-But hear Mr. Maxwell.

* If farmers, says he, will read my papers with as much attention as I have wrote them, will be convinced of errors, will depart from them, and will practice the Husbandry which I have directed, we must soon become rich, and may be happy.'

As a specimen of our Author's manner of writing, we shall subjoin his essay on the improvement of mofs; a kind of soil, (if it may be called so) that abounds in many parts of Scotland, and some few in England, particularly Lancashire.

• The nature, qualities, and methods of improving moss, whereof there are so many vast tracts in the kingdom, never hav. ing been, so far as I know, treated of at length by any Author who has wrote on Husbandry, I, with submission, offer my thoughts on the subject.

• Moss is almost the only deep foil, and perhaps the best of feveral whole counties, were its qualities well understood; tho’ at present, by the greatest part, little valued, which makes the knowlege of the proper improvement of it the more neceflary and useful.- The whole mals and body of it is a dunghill, made up of rotten timber, grass, weeds, and often mud washed off from the higher grounds about it, by the land-floods; than which there are few richer compofts: only, by age, and its cold fituation in water, pent in about it by the neighbouring riling grounds, its salts are weakened, and spirits become languid. The same will happen to the richest midding * that can be made of any composition whatsoever, if too long kept; yea, it will become such, as not to be distinguished from ordinary moss by the eye fight, and no more useful as dung than it, except either in proportion to the shorter time it has been kept, or the better situation of the place where it has stood.

I believe the qualities of mofles differ very little from one another in any other respect, than with regard to the mud which makes a part of their composition, its being of a better or worie quality, and as they happen to be in warmer or colder countries, or more or less spungy, occasioned by the greater or letter quantity of water stagnate in them: the more water, the more spungy; the less water, the more short and rotten ; and the rof. tener, the fitter for the vegetation of any thing that is planted

• Another name for a cunghill, or heap of compot.

in, or sown on them.—The spungy moss grows, indeed, very well, and increases its own quantity; but becomes the fitter for the production of plants, roots, or herbs, by putting a stop to its growth. The most proper way to effectuate which, is draining.–From this it follows, that draining is the first improvement of moss; and so necessary, that other improvements cannot be made upon it, till that be executed; and, if well improved, it will produce and nourish vegetables to equal profit and advantage, as perhaps any sort or kind of soil. I have seen upon it mighty crops of rape, wheat, barley, oats, and pease; parsnips, carrots, turnips, and potatoes; large and good coles, and herbs of various kinds; and it is good and convenient for meadow, being (besides other considerations) free of stones.

• If moss, improven, be fit for so many good purposes, it seems very material to consider which are the most proper methods of improving it. The best way, in my opinion, is to pare off the Surface with horses *; and a denshiring or paring plough; then to burn it, spread the ashes, and plough them in with a light furt, for a crop of rape, or such other crop as the master of the ground is most disposed to have. But besides that the rape is a valuable crop, in consideration of the seed, it gives this encouragement alio for the lowing of it, that the large bulky stalks on which the feed grows, afford a fresh supply of salts when burnt I; and even while it is growing, the falling leaves, for want of air to exhale their moisture, become of a slimy, oily substance, rot the surface, and enrich the earth by their juices, falts, and rotting upon it.

• It is proper with the second crop, at least with the third, to low clover and rye-grass, or feeds from hay-lofts; for it is a prodigious error to overcrop ground, before laying it down with grass. seeds; but a third crop, if the second shew, that the ground is in heart to yield it, is the more necessary on this foil, (which is, as it were, ftitched together) that clover, or such small seeds, require the ground to be more pulverized than one, or even two plowings can, unless the fog $ hath been wafted by burning, and that the quantity of ashes arising therefrom was confiderable.-The more ashes there are, unless the quantity be extravagant, and more than ever I saw the surface of any mois yield, the bet. ter will the third crop of grain, and the after-crops of grass be ;

• But unluckily it happens, that the surface of a moss will seldom bear the weight of hortes.

+ Or shallow furrow, we suppose.

I It is not the interest of a farmer to lay these arhes upon his land, as they are more profitable if fold to the soap-boiler. After-grass, or eddih. Pp 2

for for they help much to cut and divide, and so to pulverize; which with due expofitions to the benefits of the heavenly influences, is almost all that moss wants to make it fertile, if sufficiently drained.

This grasz ought to be mowed, not pastured, till the surface become of sufficient firength to bear cattle *. Thereafter it will not be improper, that it be mowed and pastured alternately, until the master of the ground incline to have more crops of rape or grain. Then (in cale either the deepness of the moss, or a clay bottom will allow of it) he may from time to time proceed in the forefaid method, of burning, cropping, and laying down with grass-seeds.- This, however, can only be done after the moss is become so firm, that it can bear the labouring cattle, which requires a good level, and considerable time to drain it; but that such a beneficial improvement may not be retarded, the moss, if once tolerably dry, may be pared by an English turfspade, with which a man will pare as much in one day as in a day and a half, or perhaps two days, with the ordinary furffpades of this country I; and the turfs being burnt, the ashes may be plowed in by one man with a breait-plough, for four fillings per acre g; for the labour is not hard.

"I humbly propose to those that do not incline to low rape, to plant potatoes. It is observed, that the blue or white kidneykind thrive best on this foil; but any sort will do well, and, if early planted, will be ready before the frosts can endanger their rotting.

It is plain that den hiring is not only the most ordinary, but also the most proper way to improve mols; wbich for the most part is either deep enough to bear it, or has clay below; for the fire revives the weakened salts, and if a clay bottom can be got at, the mixture of the clay, moss, and alhes, makes one of the best of moulds.

• But the shortest work of all for the improvement of moss, designed only for grass, where the situation gives opportunity for it, is this: first drain the moss: if there be heath upon it, burn it off, and make the surface equal. Then make a dam at the lowest part, and a lluice, and work the water upon it through the winters. The mud that comes by the land-floods will, in two or three years time, bring a fine swaird upon it, and there

* * Here the Author himself confirms what we asserted in a preceding note. f Scotland.

This may paffibly be true in Scotland, but not in England, where it will cost as much as is here mentioned to plow an acre with horfes.


« PreviousContinue »